Category: money

Several reasons not to like the Marketplace Fairness Act

If there was a requirement for the Senate to accurately name their bills, the “Marketplace Fairness Act” would be called the “Start Taxing the Internet to Raise More Taxes Act”.

In case the chatter from other problems ( a US Ambassador dying at Benghazi, IRS harassing the Tea Party, NSA spying on Verizon customers, etc. ) has obscured this one, here’s a short list of reasons to hate this Act:

1) Taxes the internet in an attempt to level the playing field for brick and mortar retailers that are having trouble competing. The Senate is concerned that internet businesses have an unfair advantage over brick and mortar retailers and feel compelled to do something about it. I’m not sure which amendment to the Constitution compells them to right this wrong but I’m sure that the world’s greatest deliberative body has given it a great deal of thought.
2) Taxes the internet to give municipalites and states more money to waste. Don’t get me started.
3) Confusing to the Stupid Party – you know, the one that’s all for personal freedom and against statist control. Vote breakdown was 21 yes, 22 no, and 2 MIA. I recommend using smaller words in the future.
4) Drastically decreases the size of a “small” business from a generally accepted definition of at least $30 million ( SBA – SIC code 454111 ) all the way down to $1 million. Wouldn’t want to let anything go to waste, would we?
5) Puts a new, additional burden on internet businesses to figure out how much tax to collect in the thousands of tax regions in the US.
6) And my personal favorite – has a really fuzzy definition of “remote sellers” and “sales” that could allow states to begin taxing all of your financial transactions.

About the only thing to like here is that it makes it real easy to decide how to vote in the next two Senate races.

A Tale of Three Light Bulbs

I heard about the new Cree LED light bulbs being sold at HD and thought maybe it would be worth picking a couple up.

Then again, maybe not.

The glowing ad for the Cree bulbs in the IBD story compares their energy efficiency to incandescent bulbs, not CFLs. When you compare them to CFLs, maybe we should all just wait a while.

The Cree light is 10 times as expensive as the least expensive CFL that HD sells but still uses nearly three quarters of the energy that the CFL does. Using 3 hours per day and 11₵/kWh, it will take LED bulbs 29 years to save the difference in the price from CFLs.

Call me again when the LED’s use one tenth the electricity and only cost 3 times as much as the CFLs.

A billion here, a billion there

I was reading this post by Commander Zero and it made me wonder if anyone really knows what’s going on in Cyprus. Looking at this story that CZ linked to and another story from a week or so earlier, the numbers don’t make sense. If the amount in accounts smaller than 100,000 euros is 30 billion euros ( 68 total minus 38 in the large accounts ) and every man, woman and child in Cyprus has a bank account ( all 840,000 of them according to the 2011 census ), the average size of the small accounts is about 36,000 euros or about $47,000. Really? That seems a little large.

There must be at least a couple of Cypriots with larger accounts. Of course, that just makes the average size of the small accounts larger.

And the big accounts can’t all belong to Russian mobsters. Estimates of Russian deposits range from 4 billion euros to 15 billion euros depending on who you believe. That still leaves over 20 billion euros in large accounts unaccounted for.

It makes me wonder.